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NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information

NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The NIH is currently asking for pubic feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect health and lifestyle data for its Precision Medicine Initiative — an initiative that hopes to collect data on more than 1 million individuals. The NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative is described as:


a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice


What exactly that means is a bit nebulous, but a New England Journal of Medicineperspective sheds some light:


Ultimately, we will need to evaluate the most promising approaches in much larger numbers of people over longer periods. Toward this end, we envisage assembling over time a longitudinal “cohort” of 1 million or more Americans who have volunteered to participate in research.


Qualified researchers from many organizations will, with appropriate protection of patient confidentiality, have access to the cohort’s data, so that the world’s brightest scientific and clinical minds can contribute insights and analysis.


The NIH is specifically asking the following:


  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.


It’s exciting to see the NIH see the potential of digital health. They specifically mention how smartphones and wearables can be utilized to collect a wide variety of data: location information, mobile questionnaires, heart rate, physical activity levels, and more.


There is already a robust discussion taking place in the comments section at the NIH website, and we encourage our readers to contribute.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, July 30, 2015 7:37 PM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek's curator insight, July 31, 2015 1:31 AM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Heather Taylor's curator insight, August 31, 2015 10:33 PM

#wearables #healthcare #wearabledevices

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Four Unique Healthcare Apps

Four Unique Healthcare Apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The last seven years has seen the rise of the smartphone and tablet as personal technology devices utilized by almost all professions in some capacity or another. The healthcare industry is no different and the veritable volume of applications or "apps" that have been developed and utilized by physicians and patients in the last few years has skyrocketed. Inevitably, the large volume of apps makes it difficult for individuals looking to make an impact to stand out in the crowd, as certain conventions become standard. Having a unique "hook" definitely helps to boost such apps into the spotlight, but it also serves to help physicians and patients look at new ways to utilize software (and the devices they run on).


CARROT Fit


Sometimes, "unconventional" is as simple as looking at something in a different or even humorous way. For example, CARROT Fit is an app developed by Brian Mueller that provides you with a sarcastic and merciless "fitness overlord" (modeled after his mother, sister, and wife) who motivates you through such innovative techniques as referring to you as "meatbag" and threatening you with "squirrel attacks" (yes, you read that right) when you fail to exercise. Mueller started out by writing alarm clock and to-do apps and received such a positive response about the personality of the Carrot A.I. (artificial intelligence) that a workout app seemed like the next logical step.


'"The CARROT series of apps are all about taking things that people hate doing … and making them fun and rewarding," said Mueller. "I think most people feel upset when they step on a scale … but CARROT's humor turns that around and makes it a positive experience they can laugh about — and because they connect with the character so much, they're actually motivated to do better the next day."


Bowel Mover Pro and Autism Tracker Pro


Another way to stand out in a field of "me too" health apps is to focus on areas of health that may be less common or more challenging to discuss. Case in point is developer Uwe Heiss. His company, Track & Share, developed Bowel Mover Pro and Autism Tracker Pro to empower patients with self-tracking tools that would make the patient-care team encounter more effective.


Any physician who has ever had to discuss bowel habits with an IBS patient knows how frustrating it can be to get vague feedback on patient symptoms. "All of my apps are designed to help people to spot trends, patterns, and how things might be related to each other," said Heiss. "For example, 'Does stress appear to aggravate my IBS symptoms?' 'Since I started Yoga, did my daily average stress level go down?' 'Was I able to avoid peak stress …?'"


Heiss stresses that three things which guided the design of his apps were the ability to highly customize what patients tracked, to provide powerful graphing options to identify patterns over time, and the ability to share data via external tools such as Excel, increasing the physician's ability to use the data in a meaningful way.


Symple


Developer Natasha Gajewski echoes some of these thoughts and developed her symptom-tracking app around one basic concept that also gave the app its name, "Symple." "I developed this app when I became a patient … one of my most important duties was to deliver an accurate symptom history between doctor visits," she said. "I had limited use of my hands and fingers … so I designed the touch interactions to be as simple as possible. We also worked hard to keep the cognitive load to a minimum."


One thing is certain. Regardless of the reason for defying convention, all developers believe the future of medicine will involve more integration of such apps and more active user interaction in an effort to enhance the patient-doctor encounter. At the end of the day, if visionaries succeed in this lofty endeavor, it will be because of the conventions they chose to modify or ignore in an effort to stand out and stand up for a better healthcare experience.

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Nebraska Medicine and Epic ahead of their time with a new patient engagement app for the Apple Watch

Nebraska Medicine and Epic ahead of their time with a new patient engagement app for the Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Apple has always been about innovation. The same can be said for Epic, the Verona, Wisconsin-based healthcare software company whose customers manage medical records for more than half the U.S. population, including patients at Nebraska Medicine. Now, Epic and Nebraska Medicine announce one of the first efforts to improve the patient experience using Apple’s first wearable device.


“We’re always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of our patients,” said Michael Ash, M.D., chief transformation officer at Nebraska Medicine. “We recognize that as more of our patients use devices like the Apple Watch, we not only have to be able to use that technology to initially provide convenience for them, but we also have to envision how we can also improve patient outcomes via use of the device in the future.”


Epic’s MyChart app for Apple Watch, available now on the App Store, lets patients view messages from their care providers, upcoming appointment details, and information on their active medications. They can also see notices when new test results, billing statements and health maintenance reminders are accessible on their iPhones.


“It’s great to see Nebraska Medicine help lead the way on patient engagement with the Apple Watch,” says Sumit Rana, Epic’s senior vice president for research and development. “Wearables such as the Apple Watch have great potential to empower patients as active participants in their own healthcare and wellness while improving the overall care experience.”


Epic has development in the works based on the Apple Watch’s ability to “tap” wearers on the wrist to get their attention. Diabetic patients will be able to get reminders to test their blood sugar regularly, for example. Care organizations will also be able to use the watch to help patients get quicker access to high-demand specialty visits and services. Epic’s Fast Pass On the Go feature would allow a patient with an appointment three weeks out to get an Apple Watch alert if an earlier slot opens up – when another patient cancels an appointment, for example – and accept the new appointment time from the watch.


An Apple Watch app is also available for physicians who use Epic’s Haiku mobile application for the iPhone. Doctors can view their schedule, hospitalized patients and clinical summaries. They can also use Siri’s speech-to-text functionality to record a clinical note or a MyChart message to send to a patient.

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Evaluating what leads to positive user ratings in medical apps

Evaluating what leads to positive user ratings in medical apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

With the growing number of mobile health related apps, there needs to be an objective understanding about what features of an app make the consumer, or user, more likely to use a particular app. There have been studies done in the past that have evaluated medical apps looking at characteristics that can help change a user’s behavior.


These are important for medical apps, as many are targeted to change the user’s behavior for a healthier outcome. However, the characteristics that will make a user more satisfied and more likely to continue using an app long-term, are not the same.


A recent study looked at which specific features within medical apps result in greater user ratings. The study looked at 234 apps and reviews that were found in the Apple iTunes store and Google Play store in the medical, health and fitness categories, and were also associated with reputable health organizations.


The apps that were found to meet the inclusion criteria were then analyzed to see if they included the following features and were rated on a binary scale:


  • Ability to export data
  • Gamification
  • General education
  • Plans and orders
  • Reminder
  • Community forum
  • Social media connection
  • Addresses symptoms
  • Tailored education
  • Tracker
  • Cost
  • Usability


The results of the data from this study showed that 9.3% of a user’s rating of a particular medical app can be explained by 5 features, including plans and orders, ability to export data, usability, cost, and having a tracker. All but one of these features resulted in a more positive user rating. Apps with a tracker, which allow the user to track specific data, such as daily compliance with medications, daily caloric intake, etc, correlated with a more negative rating. When the data was further analyzed, the results showed that the tracker feature has a positive influence on a user’s rating if the app also has the ability to export the data. This makes sense from a user interface aspect, as a tracker can be useful if the data can be shared with the user’s doctor or other healthcare provider. The tracker option, without the ability to export data, may result in too much information, which the user may not be able to properly interpret.


This shows that if you do include the ability to track information within an app, it’s important to makes sure that information can be exported.

The results of the study also show that users preferred a simple and intuitive app over a complicated one. These are apps that easily provide the user the ability to control their interaction with the app, such as saving and logging data, have a minimal design and not cluttered with extra information or multimedia, and easily allow the user to recover from errors. These all make sense since a user would want be using an app on a smartphone to help complete tasks faster and with ease.


Also as expected, the user is also more likely to rate an app more positively if the app provides a more efficient solution to current methods. Examples of these types of apps are those that provide information about a specific disease, which saves the user time from looking up and understanding that information themselves. Another example is an app with the exporting data feature mentioned above, as exporting existing data from an app is much faster than manually inputting the data in a notebook or emailing a healthcare provider from scratch.


The results of this study are important to consider when developing new medical apps. With over 10,000 apps in the marketplace, knowing what features are most important to the users of medical apps is crucial in creating a successful app that will lead to long-term use and as a result, have tangible positive outcomes in the user’s health.

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Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game

Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

After months of speculation and hype, the Apple Watch has finally arrived. 


What are some first impressions? How does it compare with other watches, bands and wearables? How will it impact the digital health landscape? (By the way, if you are reading this review for information on how to deliver your one-way banner ads brand messages via Apple Watch, you're already missing the point.)

I have been an avid user of wearable fitness and health trackers for a few years. After losing several Nike FuelBands on the soccer field, I recently switched to the Microsoft Band. Although it's slightly bulky, I truly enjoy the simple interface for tracking my activities, instantly measuring my heart rate and even paying for my Starbucks coffee.

Then along comes the Apple Watch. Of course it's got a great design, but it's not going to be for everyone initially. The learning curve is steep, especially if you're like me and don't take advantage of the online or in-store training. It does have a limited battery life and seems to be missing some core health functions. It might not be ideal for people with poor vision, and it doesn't currently have independent GPS capability. I was particularly worried about whether I could wear it while playing soccer, but I simply placed a wristband over it. Voila! I didn't find a default sleep-measurement function, but I assume that there will be apps to do that. Maybe Apple would rather I charge my watch while I sleep.

It's been only a few days, but I can already say that the Apple Watch experience is a great improvement over my other fitness bands. In addition to tracking my heart rate and how much I'm moving or sitting, the Apple Watch lets me do everyday things like receive texts and email, take phone calls and use Apple Pay. But I'm most excited about how it and other wearables will help me modify my behavior for better health. There's something very motivating about receiving visual and sensory cues from a device attached to your body. For instance, the Apple Watch gives you a nudge every hour to get up and move for a minute. It's very subtle and it may be a minuscule benefit, but it can be a great tool to combat the 21st century “disease of sitting” that so many of us are facing. 

We have been talking about big data, value beyond the pill and behavioral economics for some time. 

These wearable devices provide a great opportunity to do more than simply be shiny objects for early adopters. Wearables aren't just for fitness—they can make a big impact on adherence, compliance and cessation of unhealthy behaviors. 


Two hospital systems are currently conducting digital medicine trials using the Apple Watch to help manage hypertension and to determine how nurses and physicians can benefit from incorporating the Apple Watch into a medical home program. There are already a number of industry-related apps available for Apple Watch, including those from Drchrono, Lark, Doximity, WebMD, HealthTap and others.

The uptake has been rapid: Consider the fact more Apple Watches were sold in one day than Android Wear devices in an entire year. As a digital marketer, don't expect every demographic to immediately adopt the Apple Watch or other wearables. But ignore the Apple Watch effect at your own risk. The impact of this new technology and interface will manifest over time, just like our mobile phones did. 

Remember when they said social media was only a fad?


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Can Apple And IBM Change Health Care? Five Big Questions

Can Apple And IBM Change Health Care? Five Big Questions | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Today, at a glitzy press conference at IBM’s new Watson headquarters in Manhattan’s swank Silicon Alley, IBM IBM -1.82% and Apple AAPL -2.53% announced that they are partnering with Japan Post, which is among other things the largest health- and life-insurance company in Japan, to start a project that will provide iPads to millions of senior citizens with the aim of improving their health and their lives.

The project will help Japan Post, which already has a massive Big Data-style collection of health care information, to both know more about its customers and to improve the health and wellness of its seniors, which could, it stands to reason, also improve the financial health of its insurance businesses by allowing customers to live longer, healthier and more independent lives.


Japan Post Chief Executive Taizo Nishimuro said the effort has “the potential to affect an entire generation of people and bring our elderly citizens into the world of connection and convenience that come with iPhone and iPad. It’s my vision to enrich their lives.”


Apple and IBM chief executives Tim Cook and Ginni Rometty were both present at the press conference, emphasizing its importance to both firms. “Combined with Japan post we are going to build a service that not only can all be proud of but that will put a ding in the universe,” said Cook, looking down occasionally at an iPad on his lap. Added Rometty: “Today is about re-imagining life for what is the largest generation that has been in human history.”


Big words. But what exactly is this first step into a new way of trying to keep people healthy? Here’s my take.


How, exactly, will this work?


For this, there’s a clear answer. Japan Post already has a service through which it sends employees directly to the homes of its elderly customers to check up on them and to help them with arranging the minutiae of life, including medical appointments. These workers will bring the senior citizen an iPad, and sit with them and teach them how to use a suite of IBM-designed applications focused around the areas of health, family, and community.


The app will remind patients to take their medicines (the fictional anecdote used by IBM executives to explain that used a woman who kept forgetting her blood pressure medicine, which would put her at risk for a stroke), but also allow them to FaceTime with family and to book a plumber. The idea, the executives said, is to make it easier for seniors who may be getting more forgetful or having trouble with balance to continue to live independently.

There are lots of pilot programs to do this sort of thing, but the Japan Post effort differs in its scale – Nishimuro said that the plan was to roll this out to millions – and in its reliance on Apple and IBM technology. The executives didn’t mention any telemedicine component, where patients could directly connect with doctors or nurses, but it’s easy to imagine one. The customers won’t pay for the iPad, although there may be a nominal fee for the service, an IBM spokesman said. There will be a limited roll-out, and testing for functionality, before the project can move full tilt.


Can you protect people’s privacy?


Japan Post is one of the most trusted companies in the world, working in a culture that has dramatically different attitudes about both privacy and caring for seniors than the U.S. does.


But can you imagine letting a U.S. health insurance company know every piece of information being collected here? Could Aetna AET -0.87% or Cigna CI -1.28% roll out a similar program? That depends on whether patients can really be sure that a company they trust (like Apple) can protect their data from one they probably don’t (any company in U.S. health care).


The data will be in a secure cloud. Rometty said that customers will opt in or out of having their personal details known, or providing data in an anonymized fashion. “I believe that discussion of privacy and convenience is a tradeoff individuals make all the time,” she said.


Can you prove that iPads actually help people stay healthy?


The idea behind this project is that it will help senior citizens remain independent and healthy for longer, while giving peace of mind to relatives who will be able to stay in touch with them more closely. In the fictional case study IBM used to explain this effort to the press, the patient’s high blood pressure would mean that getting her to take her medicine more often would improve her life.


Obviously, Japan Post will be collecting huge amounts of data that, with IBM analytics, it will use to try to learn about how to keep people healthy. But will these companies be able to prove that giving a grandmother an iPad can save her life?


It wasn’t clear what kind of data collection IBM, Apple, and Japan Post will be doing to prove that this works. Studies taken from insurance databases are generally considered less reliable than experiments where people are randomly getting an invention, or not getting it. Hopefully, Japan Post will be able to compare people who got iPads at different times to see if these apps actually help people be healthier, instead of just making them happy that they got a new toy. 


Could this be rolled out in America?


Obviously, trust issues about giving information to insurers are a bigger hurdle in the U.S. than in many other countries. But there are other issues, too.


As Cook noted, the U.S. health care market is fragmented. No insurance company here has the reach that Japan Post does. Apple and IBM say they are trying out a huge number of pilot studies, including one related to home health care that is being done by Express Scripts ESRX +1.76%.


Will this work?


IBM and Apple deserve huge congratulations for the way they are taking on the problem of improving health care for seniors – especially since it is a problem health care companies are failing to solve. This is a big deal.


But I also saw something I didn’t like at the press conference: a tendency to talk a lot about how great the gadgets and apps they were developing are without much data about whether or not they actually improve health. It’s very possible, maybe even likely, that an iPad giveaway program, paired with the right apps, could make senior citizens with chronic health problems healthier and more independent. But it’s not a foregone conclusion, and it deserves a more reasoned approach. Apple and IBM are moving into new territory here, and they’re going to have to do something that is always hard for anyone, but that both companies have excelled at over the years.


They’re going to have to think different.


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Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit

Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has become the latest provider organization to link its electronic medical records system to Apple's HealthKit software.


CIO Darren Dworkin, speaking to Bloomberg Business, said that information from HealthKit now will appear in health records for more than 80,000 patients. Several other hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System, as well as Stanford University Hospital and Duke University, also integrate with HealthKit.


"This is just another set of data that we're confident our physicians will take into account as they make clinical and medical judgments," Dworkin said, who added that use of HealthKit will be a learning experience.


"We don't really, fully know and understand how patients will want to use this," he said.


Dworkin added that HealthKit will be available for all patients throughout the system to use as they choose. 


"The opt-out is just don't use it," he said.


At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's mHealth Summit in the District of Columbia last December, Ochsner Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Richard Milani and Duke Medicine Director of Mobile Technology Ricky Bloomfield shared insight into their respective organizations' HealthKit integrations. Both facilities use Epic's patient portal, MyChart.


Milani said the amount of data patients could generate that could then go into their records was pretty small; he said about 50 to 60 discreet elements such as weight, sodium intake and blood pressure could be entered. Bloomfield, however, said that based on conversations with Apple healthcare executives, he expects that number to grow.

Bloomfield added that HealthKit integration will help to transform the use of EHRs for providers.


"This was finally something we could give them that would live up to the promise of what EHRs can provide, and what having access to this kind of data can provide," Bloomfield said at the Summit.


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The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps

The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch, Apple’s first step into the world of wearables, starts shipping to consumers today.


The Watch marks an interesting time in the wearable fitness space, in particular. Health and fitness trackers like Jawbone Up and Fitbit have dominated much of that space in the last few years. According to NDP, these wearable fitness devices sold close to 3.3 million units last year.

The Apple Watch is more of a comprehensive platform, but it has definitely taken the popularity of these fitness trackers into account, equipping the Watch with a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS tracker to measure distance and speed during workouts, an accelerometer to track body movement, and proprietary apps that show calories burned and overall fitness levels.


Not wanting to be left out of the action on this new platform, many health technology companies have started to repurpose their smartphone apps for the Apple Watch as well. While not all apps add much more to the Watch experience than they do to your phone, there are a few that make that subtle leap. Here are the 22 top health and fitness apps we’re looking forward to on the Watch:

Featured Apple Watch Health and Fitness Apps:


First, let’s go through the apps that Apple has chosen to feature on the Apple Watch section on its site.


Nike+ Running – Apple kicked both Jawbone Up and Nike+ Fuel Band out of the Apple store in anticipation of the Watch. But it looks like Apple through Nike some love by adding the Nike+ Watch app into the featured set of fitness apps on Apple’s website. The Nike+ Running app will allow owners of the Watch to connect with its global running community as well as log distance and run duration right on their wrist.

Green Kitchen – This app adds dozens of healthy recipes and the step-by-step instructions to make them with a tap on the screen. The app includes a timer within the Watch to notify you when to take certain items out of the oven.


Strava – Know how high you climbed, your average speed, distance and heart rate in real-time as well as segment by segment updates to keep you pushing forward in your workout.

Mayo Clinic Synthesis – This app is a bit more for the medical doctor side of management. It helps physicians manage their daily schedule and alerts them when a patient is waiting for them in the lobby or the exam room. It also provides basic patient information such as age, sex and weight.


LifeSum – Think of this one as a food journal on your wrist. This app provides a way to track what you are eating and drinking throughout the day and then look it up later to figure out how many calories you’ve consumed. It also provides the right portion size and which foods to avoid.


Runtastic – The Apple Watch will have three apps from the popular run tracking platform: The original Runtastic to track runs using GPS, Runtastic Six Pack and Runtastic Butt Trainer. The apps include a Glances feature to display an avatar that will demonstrate the right way to do each exercise. This helps the person working out follow along instead of having to look up or hold a phone while going through the movements.


The Health and Fitness Apps We Like:

There are many, many health and fitness apps that are either already on the Watch or will be on the Watch in the near future. The following is a collection of the top apps we believe have the best use case on your wrist.


Hello Heart – This is a blood pressure monitor and heart health companion app. This is a good one for the Watch as it can record and upload vital signs right from your wrist. More than 100 million Americans have some type of a heart condition. This app could make it easy for them to monitor those conditions in real-time, rather than having to go into a doctor’s office or pharmacy to get that information.

Fitstar Yoga – Instead of having to look up at the screen or instructor to make sure you have the pose right, this app helps the user see what the proper pose looks like right on their wrist. It also allows them to check on the time remaining for the chosen yoga session or manage the session by using the play, pause or use the back and forth controls.


WaterMinder – This is a pretty straightforward app that helps folks stay hydrated by reminding them to drink up. You can also visualize your daily water levels to figure out if you are drinking enough.

Map My Run – At this point you may be wondering why another running app, besides the native app in the Apple Watch and the Nike+ Running app are worth a try. Map My Run not only has a significant and dedicated community to encourage that running life. The new Watch app will also let enthusiasts log more than 600 different types of workouts, record GPS activities, sync and share activity on Apple Health and MyFitnessPal and socially share workouts with friends.


HealthTap – Tap on the app to ask questions and get answers to medical questions from 68,000 U.S. doctors while on the go. The app will also provide reminders for virtual sessions with your doctor, personal notifications and reminders to take your prescribed medications.


Medication Alarm – Reminds you to take any type of medication throughout the day, using an infinite amount of reminders, medication and times to take. Also lets you track how many pills you have left to give you a heads up on when you need to order more.


Human – This one tracks your activities throughout the day and pushes you to get up and move for 30 minutes every day. That’s important because while you may not be physically close to your phone all the time, you will be able to see that reminder on the watch to get up and move at least 30 minutes a day. The app automatically picks up your walks, bike rides, runs and other activities that go for a minute or more and then logs them on the app.

Misfit Minute – Misfit already has a popular wearable product worn on the wrist, but started venturing into other platforms with a fitness app on the Pebble watch last July. Continuing on the trend of being hardware agnostic, Misfit has created an app for the Watch that will give consumers a total body workout, using body weight training and circuit intervals.


Carrot Fit – Carrot, the zany artificial intelligence family of apps, will all be on the Apple Watch, including an app that shames you into working out. Carrot Fit both terrifies and inspires with seven minute workouts that will have you escaping from a squad of mean ostriches and punching Justin Bieber. This way you can receive judgement and pop references on your wrist instead of your phone.


Clue – This is a period tracking app that lets women figure out where they are in their cycle. Apple was criticized for not including a period tracker in HealthKit, but that’s a pretty important part of women’s health. This app prognosticates when a woman will next start her period, PMS and when she is most likely to get pregnant.


WebMD – The WebMD app will remind patients to take their meds as well as provide instructions on how to take certain medications and a daily schedule of when to take them.


BACtrack – There are a couple of smartphone breathalyzer test apps on the market, but this one lets you check your blood alcohol levels without fumbling around in a drunken state while looking for your phone. Of course, you’ll have to also have the BACtrack’s smart breathalyzer tool on you to start a BAC test, but it frees up one of your hands to hold the tool while taking the test.


drchrono – Physicians who use the iOS app can already pull up a patient’s medical information and use an iPad to send the bill. The Apple Watch app helps medical professionals see chat messages from their clinic colleagues reminding them to wrap up their visit and see their schedule without it looking like they are ignoring the patient and playing with their phone. They can also use the app to respond privately to patient text messages and view patient information on their wrist.


Doximity – The largest medical professional network in the U.S. comes to the wrist. According to company estimates, about half of all of America’s doctors are Doximity members. Physicians with an Apple Watch will be able to access Doximity’s free tools such as HIPPA-compliant messaging, electronic fax capabilities and reading up on curated medical news.
 
Skin – The skin is the body’s largest organ and can tell you a lot about your health. The Skin app requires the use of your phone’s camera to take pictures of your skin. The Watch app then helps you pull up those images quickly and monitor changes in your skin over time. It won’t diagnose you, but it does alert you if something has changed or should get checked out by a medical professional.


Spring – The music streaming service made specifically for exercise could be useful on those runs. This app allows you to leave your phone behind and still access high-energy tunes. While the Watch doesn’t have a way to plug in and listen to music while you run, you can still use this app with a wireless headset to bounce to the kind of music that gets your heart pumping and your body moving.


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Punch Digital 's curator insight, May 4, 2015 2:03 AM

From instructive Yoga to interactive run tracking apps, the apple watch and it's ability to be compatible with your fitness goals, is revolutionary.


if you have a few spare moments then this article will definitely have you marching down to the shops. the ability it has for not only fitness professionals but for the weekend warrior is mind blowing.


See for yourself what the new Apple watch has to offer, maybe it's time you took your fitness goals to the next level?

Lyfe Media's curator insight, June 17, 2015 4:19 PM

The Apple Watch may be the best thing that's happened to fitness lovers since the treadmill. With a wide variety of applications to monitor fitness levels, nutrition, and various other health concerns, an Apple Watch may quickly become a recommended gadget by health professionals everywhere. HealthyFitGuide

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Will the New Apple Product Accelerate Healthcare’s Shift to Consumerism?

Will the New Apple Product Accelerate Healthcare’s Shift to Consumerism? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch market release on April 24 is not only a significant event for the consumer electronics industry, but it will be a significant event for healthcare as well. More than simply a version of the iPhone that fits on a wrist, the Apple Watch promises to be a tipping point for engaging consumers in their healthcare (a topic I wrote about here last year).

Certainly, this evolution will be gradual, and the health and fitness apps available for the smart watch are limited so far. But if sales of the Apple Watch are anything similar to iPhone, iPad and iTunes sales in the last 10 years, then this device will indeed influence how consumers capture, track and share personal health data with providers.

Why? Because the Apple Watch, unlike any of the countless consumer fitness-monitoring devices before it, isn’t just for counting steps or calories. It’s designed to be integrated into every moment of the wearer’s waking hours, offering a calendar, weather forecasts, emails, text messages, phone calls, music, and, of course, the ability to track steps walked, miles run, heart rate and total body movement throughout the day. It even tells the time!

This constant monitoring and integration into consumers’ daily lives—and the fact that they will wear the device on their wrists instead of stuffing it into a pocket—is why the Apple Watch will greatly influence health engagement where others have failed.

Apple changes things
Smart watches have been around since at least 2013, but Apple and its brand, reputation and devoted customer base ensure not only heavy sales, but also extensive coverage in the news media that other consumer technology companies would kill for.

However, the first generation of any transformative consumer technology—television, VCR, Internet modem or smart watch—is rarely the most purchased. Apple will certainly learn from this first version, refine it and add features that likely will include more health and fitness capabilities and integrations with healthcare organizations’ information systems.

This gradual acceptance means healthcare organizations have some time before consumers insist that providers capture data collected from the Apple Watch and combine it with their electronic health records (EHRs). Regardless of how fast this demand grows, numerous healthcare-centric Apple Watch apps already are in development due to the smart watch’s bio-sensing technologies.

Preparing for the demand
Also driving this shift, as I wrote about last year, is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which changed how millions of Americans acquire health insurance. Consumers now shop online for health coverage the same way they shop for airline tickets or clothing. Higher co-pays and deductibles mean that consumers are sharing more expenses with health plans and are inquiring more often about the cost of tests and services. Eventual Apple Watch interoperability is one of the many new expectations that consumers will have of providers.

Organizations can start preparing now for this change by exploring technology companies that offer effective strategies for capturing data from Apple Watches, or any health-monitoring devices, to deliver relevant notifications to providers—in context—to help support clinical decisions. For example, is the 50-year-old male patient who is transmitting a 135 beats-per-minute heart rate through his smart watch experiencing a cardiac event, or is he just training for a half-marathon? Technologies that can combine watch data with the patient’s EHR information and run an algorithm to determine if an intervention is necessary offer the kinds of analytics that providers will need to keep up with consumer expectations.

Providers, however, shouldn’t wait too long. While its evolution may be somewhat gradual, the Apple Watch’s ability to accelerate consumer health engagement is likely to be relatively swift. Perhaps the best example as to why comes from the technology reporter for The New York Times, who after spending three days wearing it wrote that “the [Apple] watch became something like a natural extension of my body—a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain.”³

That direct link is what healthcare providers must leverage to better monitor and improve chronic-condition management, as well as consumer eating and exercise habits. The Apple Watch appears to be a significant tool that will help providers reach this goal.



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Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch

Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Doximity announced today that they are launching an app for the Apple Watch, which hits the shelves later this month.


Many physicians will be familiar with Doximity, now that more than half of us have become registered users. Designed as a social network for physicians, Doximity includes a number of features that physicians will find useful for a lot more than just staying in touch with colleagues. In the recent rush of registrations on Doximity related to their partnership with US News and World Report, we wrote a quick guide on those key features. Included was secure HIPAA compliant messaging as well as an e-fax number and a journal feed.


Doximity’s Apple Watch app will bring some of these key features to your wrist. In particular, you’ll be able to read messages sent to you and dictate messages to other – without taking out your phone or pager, jumping on a computer, or spending endless minutes on hold trying to reach a colleague. You can also get notifications when you have a new fax come in – you can automatically view the fax on your iPhone using the Handoff functionality.

This hits on one the key functionalities we put on our wish list of apps for the Apple Watch – HIPAA compliant messaging. There are some limitations here worth noting. In particular, Doximity is limited to physicians so this won’t help with communication among a multi-disciplinary healthcare team, such as in a hospital or clinic. I wouldn’t be able to let a nurse know about a new medication or a social worker about an at-risk patient. Other platforms, like TigerText, will hopefully step in to bring that functionality to wearables like Apple Watch. That being said, the ability to send messages more easily to colleagues both inside and outside my own institution can be incredibly helpful.


We’re excited to see big players in the digital health space like Doximity embracing the Apple Watch. One natural question that frequently comes up is “what about Android devices?” Well, as Doximity points out, 85% of their mobile traffic is from iPhones & iPads. Its well recognized that physicians have largely embraced Apple devices and so medical app developers are going to go there first. So while many solid options have been available for Android, we expect the Apple Watch to be a catalyst in the development of new tools for clinicians.

Doximity’s app is just the start.


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Samsung’s vision of digital health

Samsung’s vision of digital health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

An increasing number of academic research projects have been dedicated to wearable computing and smartphone apps. Samsung itself has made numerous forays into digital health in 2014, including key research partnerships and initiatives.

With UC San Francisco, Samsung recently established the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab where researchers and technologists can trial new mobile health technologies. Samsung also released SDK’s for two new digital health platforms. On the hardware side, the company has developed Simband, an open reference design blueprint for building smartwatch-like wearable devices that incorporate advanced sensors to measure things such as galvanic skin response, ECG, heart rate, among others. SAMIIO — short for Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions — is a cloud-based software data exchange platform. It aggregates data from a variety of sources (including Simband and other devices) for analysis.

David Rhew, MD, is Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Global Healthcare for Samsung SDS. Previously, Rhew was an infectious disease specialist at UCLA. He and his team hope to connect patients and their providers via the cloud, and go beyond healthcare portals to digitally connect everything that patients use: televisions, beds, homes, cars, and more.

We spoke with Rhew about where digital health is headed, and what led him to his position at Samsung.

What is Samsung doing in digital health?

What we want to do is see if technology can assist individuals in their general medical care, to help them stay adherent to treatment regimens, and inform them about decisions made with healthcare providers. And that’s a very different area we know will require a lot of collaboration with healthcare providers and industry partners. We refer to that as our enterprise business.

What’s the enterprise business about? Samsung’s usually known for their smartphones, televisions, and home appliances.

Yes, while Samsung is very much known for consumer business, we’re now entering the enterprise area. We’re looking for key partnerships with provider organizations, providers, payers, and other groups to provide that level of guidance and support and also opportunities for collaboration and co-development.

We think what people see in Samsung is their traditional consumer apps, and we’ll continue to make health and fitness apps. But the newer area that we’re starting to create [has a] need for a healthcare provider in these deployments [to] help support the patient [and] provide better care. Two different models.

What does Samsung bring to the table, versus other electronics companies?

I think, in general, organizations see Samsung providing value in that we provide consumer tech that patients use every day in the home and on the go. We can deploy sensors for people to wear and interact with, through daily tools, whether it be the phone, TV, or home appliances that may capture important information to help further guide and educate individuals. That’s something every organization is trying to understand: [take] consumer grade technology and put in use cases that are relevant for the healthcare provider.

Many organizations can capture data during patient encounter visits, but as soon as [the patients] walk outside the hospital, they have no ability to understand or recognize what they’re doing, whether they’re adherent to treatment, whether there are questions, or whether they are progressing. Those are the things that organizations are trying to gain a better understanding of and develop tools for. So, at some point, patients can manage their own overall health.

So what kinds of things is Samsung offering the enterprise — the hospitals and the healthcare providers?

A lot of solutions we provide — [like] phones and TV’s — have direct implications on how healthcare providers communicate in the hospital, and the user experience that people have when they enter these facilities.

We’ve created a series of devices that can improve those opportunities that healthcare providers can take advantage of, with newer functionalities and capabilities. We think that’s very important: workforce efficiency and patient experience has become quite an important experience in healthcare as well. Samsung is focused on that…to deploy that. We work with many companies to make this [a reality].

It’s not so much about “hey, just improve paging,” but “wouldn’t it be great if we improved our mechanism of communicating with doctors and nurses with phones and wearables.” A lot of people are recognizing there are unique opportunities, especially since Samsung has created a closed container security called KNOX. These are enterprise grade devices that can be used for a variety of purposes.

We’ve created applications for tablets with guards that make them durable and rugged so people can drop them. We’re looking for ways to make batteries pop out so you don’t have to worry about charging. Those are huge pain points for healthcare systems. So we’re recognizing, “wow, if we apply this to enterprise for workforce efficiency, people can be more efficient.”

That sounds pretty cool. How can physicians take advantage of these things, with Samsung?

That’s a question we wanted to address at the mHealth Summit conference, and at the Samsung Developers’ Conference. Samsung has created an open software platform with API’s that developers — whether they be individual physicians or hospitals or companies — can write to and share data and be able to look within all the other data that’s shared, and find ways to better understand how to leverage those kinds of data.



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Tim Cook outlines Apple's role in health and wearables

“I think when you’re dealing with wellness, fitness and the proactive pieces of health. I don’t see Apple getting in to cancer research and this kind of stuff. That’s well beyond our expertise but I think in terms of things that you wear and things that you can know about your body and be able to proactively reach out to your doctor when certain things happen, I think that’s right up our alley and I think it’s something that the world needs. Apple is about making great products that enrich people’s lives.

“We wouldn’t build just a great product, we would only build it if it only enriched somebody. I think this is a fantastic example of something that enriches lives. So this is something that is highly interesting to us and you’ll notice that the watch has a health and fitness component. This is the area where we’re starting but where we go in the long term we’ll talk about later but it’s an area that I’m very excited about from multiple points of view. The opportunity and need for the world to have these types of products.”


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Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets

Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

With the Apple Watch launch, and its potential to upend the wearables market, a few months away, Canalys reports that the current market leader for “smart wearable bands” — any wristworn device that can run third-party applications — is Samsung. Meanwhile, the “basic wearable band” market, which Canalys defines as wearables that can’t run apps, is still led by Fitbit.

The up-and-comer in the non-smartwatch wearable market is Xiaomi, whose focus on the Chinese market and low price point have catapulted it into the spotlight. It has shipped more than a million Mi Bands, 103,000 of those on the first day. 

“Though the Mi Band is a lower-margin product than competing devices, Xiaomi entered the wearables market with a unique strategy, and its shipment volumes show how quickly a company can become a major force in a segment based solely on the size of the Chinese market,” analyst Jason Low said in a statement.

Canalys didn’t share the total shipment numbers for basic bands, but said 4.6 million smart bands shipped in 2014, only 720,000 of which were Android Wear. Of those, Motorola led the market with its Moto 360.  Samsung led the smart band segment overall, owing to the wide range of devices the company has available.

“‘Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smart band market,” VP and principal analyst Chris Jones said in a statement. “But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on [operating system] Tizen for its wearables.”

Canalys predicts Apple’s entry into the market will blow up the category, and says the device’s battery life will be the main advantage over Android Wear to begin with.

“Apple made the right decisions with its WatchKit software development kit to maximize battery life for the platform, and the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency,” analyst Daniel Matte said in a statement. “Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so.”


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Cheryl Palmer's curator insight, February 19, 2015 7:06 PM

WEARABLES - Market report summary on the current (Feb 2015) state of the wearables market with link to data source.  Useful to get insight into where major players are focusing their development dollars.

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The Age of Fitness Trackers

The Age of Fitness Trackers | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Fitbit… AppleWatch… Jawbone — Oh my! The age of personal fitness trackers is upon us and judging by its rapid growth, it is here to stay. Worldwide, healthcare is experiencing a massive shift in the way patients and physicians are interacting with medical records and information. Technology and Federal Regulations are among the many driving forces serving to reshape the medical industry; growing technological innovations such as Cloud technology and fitness trackers are inspiring a new era characterized by interactive, patient-centered care. With home health technologies projected to skyrocket — jumping from 14.3 million worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020 — the ability for patients to access images, information, and updates is no longer a luxury but a necessity. As fitness trackers, Cloud technology, and other innovations continue to improve upon the immediacy and ease with which patients can access personal medical records, physicians and consumers alike are being prescribed an entirely new patient care experience.


Fitness trackers such as Fitbit’s “Charge HR”, Apple’s “Sport Watch”, and Jawbone’s “UP2” have made an enormous dent within an ever-expanding wearable technologies market. The Fitness tracker craze has transcended various demographics including age as both Millenials and older generations are exhibiting support for the use of wearable technologies within the fitness world and in other markets.


Regarding fitness trackers specifically, consumers cite improved safety, healthier living, and ease of use when discussing the benefits of wearing such products. With features such as heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and exercise progress reports, fitness trackers are redefining the ways in which consumers interact with and view personal health records. Currently, about 1 in 5 adults owns a wearable device. This number is expected to grow as healthcare and technology continue to fuse in an effort to bring patients’ needs to the forefront of EMR accessibility regulation.


Many are projecting healthy growth for the future of fitness tracking wearable device technology markets. As stated in the PWC article entitled, “Wearable Technology Future is Ripe”, “As wearable devices gain traction over the next five to ten years, they can help consumers better manage their health and their healthcare costs.” The article continues to point out that, “ wearables’ potential in the $2.8 trillion US healthcare system will only be realized if companies engage consumers, turn data into insights and focus on improving consumer health.” As Meaningful Use and other Federal Government regulations continue to guide healthcare systems toward more efficient, patient-centered processes it seems likely that the growing fitness tracker market will undoubtedly impact the future state of healthcare in the US and beyond.


Is your practice in shape for a health tech driven future?

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Nicole Avarello's curator insight, July 16, 2015 1:35 PM

Do you track your fitness? I have been considering about investing in a FitBit for quite some time now. The benefits seem nice and I am hoping it will motivate me to be more active and conscious of my decisions.

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Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health?

Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The market for wearable technology devices is still in its infancy but consumers are already favoring health and fitness applications.

New Parks Associates research published Tuesday shows that just 9% of US broadband households intend to invest in a smartwatch in 2015 and that 40% of shoppers have set a price limit of $100-$250.


This is "roughly equivalent to a high-end fitness tracker," said Harry Wang, director, Health and Mobile Research, Parks Associates. "We are in the early stages in the likely merger of smartwatch and fitness tracker product categories."


Fitness applications are already proving to be the most popular use cases for smartwatch owners and this could have a huge impact on the future of digital health. 


"The smartwatch is a key entry in the connected health market, which is rapidly becoming more oriented toward the end user," Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates, said. "The adoption rate for connected health devices among U.S. broadband households increased from 24% to 27% over the last year, opening the door for connected device manufacturers as well as service providers to take advantage of the growing consumerization in healthcare."

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Gerard Dab's curator insight, July 16, 2015 8:32 PM

Watches or Cell phones for the connected health market.. #medicoolhc #medicoollifeprotector

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Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit

Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

At the 70 minute mark in their WWDC 2015 keynote Apple mentioned four new health metrics they will be adding to their Healthkit platform: Water, UV exposure, sedentary state, and menstruation.


Apple didn’t go into detail for these metrics, but the screenshot from their Keynote shows basic graphical representations of how each will work.


Water: Your Health app will be able to display how much water you are drinking. This is a metric that will most likely link data from a third party app. For example, when you track your water consumption with a fitness app, that information will automatically link to your native Health app on your iPhone (if you decide to enable that link).


UV exposure: Not sure right now if this will pull data from your location (location based UV information is publicly available), or data from a device that is actually measuring UV index. As I wrote prior, devices that measure UV index are not useful.


Sedentary State: The Apple Watch tracks this feature meticulously, but your iPhone can as well, and I suspect this information will be populated using the Apple M7 and M8 motion processors that started with the iPhone 5S.

Menstruation: Finally Apple adds a feature focused on women. Women will now be able to track their menstrual cycles.

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EHR vendors eye solo docs for Apple Watch apps

EHR vendors eye solo docs for Apple Watch apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The small physician practice isn't what it used to be. Today, solo docs and small practices are most likely a bit more technologically savvy and open to mHealth. And because of it, an increasing number of small EHR vendors are targeting them with new cloud-based platforms, chief among them Apple Watch apps.


As many of these docs do their own IT work, the independent medical practice market is ripe for these cloud-based platforms that assist with clinical and practice management functions. And, as these smaller EHR vendors are seeing, there's definitely some strong interest with many of them. Among them is Kareo, which this week unveiled its own Apple Watch app.


As Tom Giannulli, MD, an Epocrates veteran who's now the chief medical information officer for Kareo, sees it, independent physicians are "practicing heads-up medicine, looking for the latest (in technology) that can make give them an edge," he said at HIMSS15 in Chicago last month. "Their thought is, 'If it's going to help me make decisions, I want to order it.'"


That makes an Apple Watch app a logical next step.


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Apple, IBM announce partnership with Japan Post to improve elderly care

Apple, IBM announce partnership with Japan Post to improve elderly care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Apple Inc and International Business Machine Corp have teamed up with Japan Post Holdings Co to improve caregiver and monitoring services for the elderly in Japan, the companies announced on Thursday.


IBM will work with Japan Post to develop iPad software that will enable Japan's national Post Office Watch service to better monitor elderly clients. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Japan Post Holdings President Taizo Nishimuro announced the initiative at a joint news conference at IBM's Watson New York City headquarters.


Cook touted iPhone and iPad sales in Japan but notably made little mention of the Apple Watch, his first new product since taking over the company after Steve Jobs' death in 2011. He touted the iPad as an integral tool for improving care of elderly family members and patients, and said Apple has seen a "significant uptake" of the iPhone and iPad in Japan.


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How Apple Watch pulse oximeter can be used in medicine

How Apple Watch pulse oximeter can be used in medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In an interesting find by iFixit — the company known for breaking apart popular gadgets to study their internals — the Apple Watch was found to have the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation.


Traditionally we measure blood oxygen saturation using a sensor we attach to your finger, earlobe, or forehead. This is the plastic sensor that your physician might connect to your index finger when your vital signs are being taken before a visit.


In their teardown, iFixit mentioned the pulse oximetry functionality is currently turned off in the Apple watch, and many are speculating that Apple is awaiting FDA approval for this. That may be partially true. While the iHealth PO3 pulse oximeter is FDA cleared for medical use, a visit to the consumer site makes it clear that the device should only be used for fitness purposes. That’s an important distinction when selling direct to consumer – the “intended use”. Apple certainly has the resources to get FDA clearance for this functionality and could have marketed it in that way to stay in the consumer market. Given their history in health, though, I imagine they are aiming a little higher than that.


That said, I doubt FDA clearance is the only reason Apple turned this feature off; rather I bet they don’t care about measuring blood oxygen saturation right now.


The same sensor that has the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation also has the ability to measure heart rate — and the heart rate sensing ability is “turned on” in the Apple Watch. This is commonplace for these types of sensors, and I suspect Apple wasn’t purposely trying to have that ability at all, but found that the best sensor for the Apple Watch happened to also offer this ability.

Either way — a question I’m being asked now is how could oxygen saturation be utlized in the Apple Watch for health?


The following are a list of medical conditions and how the ability to meausure pulse oximetry can impact their care:


Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea affects millions of individuals. Part of the diagnostic testing involves looking for drops in blood oxygen levels being able to when someone is sleeping to see if they are having hypoxic apneic episodes (low oxygen levels when they stop breathing during sleep).

For example, if a patient presents with symptoms of fatigue, frequent naps during the day time, and loud snoring — one of the easiest things to check would be oxygen saturation during sleep. If blood oxygen saturation drops substantially, you most likely have the culprit and a formal sleep study could be done to confirm and determine treatment.

COPD


Patients with COPD often have low oxygen saturation and require supplemental oxygen at baseline to keep their oxygen saturation in the high 80s or low 90s. Being able to monitor oxygen saturation in conjunction with how much supplemental oxygen is required helps with overall management of COPD. You could utilize this relationship to predict COPD exacerbations and see if treatments are working or not.


CHF (congestive heart failure)


The fluid balance for congestive heart failure patients is often times very difficult to manage. Take too much fluid off, and the patient is intravascularly depleted and their kidneys can start failing. Leave too much fluid on, and the patient has a difficult time doing activities of daily living.


One of the markers to see if a patient’s fluid status is going towards volume overload levels is to measure not only weight and their overall symptoms, but blood oxygen saturation levels. When they have shortness of breath to the point that their oxygen levels are dropping, it can indicate the need to hospitalize a patient or to be very aggressive with their diuretic management.


With the ResearchKit app already collecting data for the heart failure app created by the team out of Stanford, having the ability to get blood oxygen saturation levels integrated into their research app would be a marker that could tremendously help their research.


There are several other clinical scenarios where a low blood oxygen saturation level is useful to help with diagnosis and management — such as pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, among others — but these conditions are more acute and far less common than the three I mentioned above.


When the ability to measure pulse oxygen saturation is finally turned on in the Apple Watch, it will definitely be interesting to see how the medical and developer community reacts — but I suspect it will take at least a year or two before that functionality goes live.


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A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients

A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch began arriving in homes and businesses across America on Friday.


And in New Orleans, one doctor immediately strapped it to his patient’s wrist.


“We need to fundamentally change behavior,” says that doctor — Richard Milani. “And the Apple Watch has the potential to [do] it.”

Milani is the Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Ochsner Health System, and overseeing what the hospital calls a first-of-its-kind trial: Giving Apple Watch to patients who struggle with high blood pressure, and seeing if it prompts them to take their medication, to make positive changes in lifestyle, and simply, to just get up and move around.


And Milani believes that the potential opportunity is huge: More than 80% of U.S. health care spending goes toward chronic disease. And many of those diseases are exceedingly preventable.


Apple Watch part of Ochsner’s broader strategy

While it doesn’t have the national profile of some health systems, Ochsner has been working hard to be a leader in digital medicine.


  • More than a year ago, the hospital launched an “O Bar” — deliberately modeled on Apple’s Genius Bar — to help patients pick through the thousands of health and wellness apps available to them.
  • Six months ago, Ochsner became the first hospital to integrate its Epic electronic health record system with Apple’s HealthKit software.
  • And in February, Ochsner launched its “Hypertension Digital Medicine Program,” a pilot program where several hundred patients regularly measure their own blood pressure and heart rate ratings using wireless cuffs, which then send that data through Apple’s HealthKit (and collects it in their medical records). Based on the results, Ochsner staff then make real-time adjustments to the patients’ medication and lifestyle.


The new Apple Watch trial builds off the hospital’s existing digital medicine program, Milani says. And he began Friday’s pilot with his longtime patient Andres Rubiano, a 54-year-old who’s spent the past twenty years trying to manage his chronic hypertension.

Rubiano says that his two months participating in Ochsner’s digital medicine program have been “comforting” — he enjoys the constant monitoring — and have already led him to make changes in diet and exercise.

“It’s been a life-changer for me,” he says.

But the Apple Watch has the potential to go further. Its customized alerts and prompts encourage immediate interventions. When we spoke on Friday afternoon, just six hours or so after he began wearing the Apple Watch, Rubiano raved about the subtle taps on his wrist.

“It’s like I have Milani as my buddy right next to me,” Rubiano said, “just nudging me to get up off your [behind] and walk around, or saying, hey, take your meds.”

Milani acknowledges there’s limited evidence that wearable technologies can directly lead to the health improvements he’s hoping to see.


But he plans to quickly enroll about two dozen patients in his Apple Watch trial, in order to begin collecting data on whether the Watch is actually making a difference. (Other patients in the hypertension program will act as the control group.) And he’s optimistic that wearable technology will pay dividends in health.

“For whatever reason, health care doesn’t do a very good job of creating [the necessary] behavior change,” Milani says. “But many of these new technologies have that ability.”

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Is it unprofessional for physicians to wear Apple Watch?

Is it unprofessional for physicians to wear Apple Watch? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One of the trending themes of the Apple Watch reviews so far has been the gluttony of notifications the Apple Watch spews out in default mode.  The Verge highlighted this in their video review — around the 3 minute mark they show how many distractions the Apple Watch can provide when having a simple conversation with someone.

In his review, The Verge’s Nilay Patel mentions how the Apple Watch doesn’t enable you to control notifications in a very granular manner — it’s basically all or nothing.


Not only is this problematic for casual conversations, as Patel shows so well during his review, but it’s even more worrisome for physicians who want to wear the Apple Watch when caring for patients.

It’s easy to put your phone on silent and in your pocket during your clinical shift, but even if your Apple Watch is silent, it will still light up when you get a notification, similar to your iPhone. Imagine doing a physical exam on a patient and as you’re doing their abdominal exam, you get a text alert from a friend making an inside joke from the weekend — definitely not professional as your patient is in easy viewing distance of your wrist.


There is already evidence that shows smartphones themselves can create distractions during patient rounds, one can only imagine how much worse it could be with the Apple Watch.


As the study by Katz-Sidlow and colleagues showed for smartphones, I think having policies in place on how this new technology should be used in the hospital setting is something that should start being discussed.


There are definite ways the Apple Watch could be utilized for a clinical shift — I wrote an article on 10 ways the Apple Watch could be utilized in medicine recently — but its form factor makes it significantly less likely to provide anywhere close to the utility you have with your smartphone. The short of it is the Apple Watch isn’t going to have anywhere close to the same clinical utility that smartphones provided to physicians for patient care.


So then, is the Apple Watch unprofessional to wear during patient care?


Yes, especially with the lack of the ability to change notifications in a granular fashion currently.


But to get around this, Apple Watch does have an airplane mode feature, effectively turning off all notifications — but this arguably makes it worthless to wear the Apple Watch in the fist place. There is a “do not disturb” function as well, but it remains to be seen if that will prevent the backlight from turning on as well.


I do know one thing, if I see my medical students and residents wearing the Apple Watch when caring for our patients, I will definitely ask them about the notification setting they have on their Watch, as my own Apple Watch will be stuck in airplane mode for the time being.


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Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from

Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When Apple Watch launches April 24th, users will be able to track their medication dosing. WebMD is updating their flagship app in the App Store to become a medical reminder companion app for the Apple Watch.


I talked to Benjamin Greenberg, who is the Vice President of Product Management & User Experience at WebMD about some of the key functionality the WebMD Apple Watch integration will have and they are the following:

  • Ability to take pictures of your medications and then have them show up on your Apple Watch when it’s time to take your next dose
  • When prompted to take your medication, you are given four actions on your Apple Watch: Take the medication, skip the medication, snooze, or dismiss the reminder.
  • You can learn more about your medication by utilizing a “Handoff Link” and read the full drug monograph on your iPhone.


Greenberg told me WebMD wanted to keep the Apple Watch medication integration clean, simple, and easy to use. They don’t want a medication reminder feature on the Apple Watch that is constantly bugging people trying to use it.


One of the features I’d love to see in the future is a location based reminder — the ability of your Apple Watch to know when you’re at home and have the ability to take your medication.


Useful for patients and digital health?


Obviously, a medication reminder feature for the Apple Watch isn’t going to solve the huge issue of medication compliance. It’s a multi-factorial problem that has been hard to tackle by the digital health community and one we’ve frequently written in depth about.


But — WebMD’s medication reminder on the Apple Watch is definitely another tool that could help the right type of patient. For example, it’s hard to imagine the elderly using Apple Watch to remind them to take their armament of drugs. But it isn’t hard to imagine a mother of two with febrile children utilizing WebMD’s Apple Watch tool to help her with Tylenol dosing and timing.


Often times when developers create medication reminder tools, they completely forget about over the counter medications. For WebMD’s reminder app to catch on, they need to focus more on over the counter medications, and having presets where users don’t have to manually insert the dosing — the barrier to set up needs to be ridiculously low.

Overall, I can’t wait to actually test out the app on launch date, and WebMD’s ability to have this launch in conjunction with the Apple Watch is a huge advantage over their competitors.


WebMD’s medication reminder app will be available as a free download in the Apple Watch App Store beginning April 24.


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The Apple Watch will Bolster the iPhone’s Place in Medicine

The Apple Watch will Bolster the iPhone’s Place in Medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One of the single biggest complaints that we hear from Physicians when referring to their EHR system is how computers take away from the personal side of patient care. All too often docs are now forced to dig through various screens, and drop down menus while they type in copious amounts of data during patient encounters. Traditionally, doctors could easily maintain eye contact with their patient while they jotted notes into a medical record using a pen and paper, but EHR interfaces have complicated that process.

In the last couple of years we’ve seen mobile apps and smart phones bring many efficiencies to the medical exam room. For example, an app that we built on behalf of the American College of Physicians, ACP Immunization Advisor, helps clinicians get up-to-date vaccine information quickly and efficiently. The free iPhone app, which provides several ways to filter the CDC Immunization Schedule for specific patient needs, can help a physician save valuable time in a patient visit by providing a comprehensive, up-to-date list of vaccine recommendations in seconds. Not only is this far more efficient then trying to navigate through the paper-based CDC schedule, but it provides the clinician with piece-of-mind as the app is updated frequently to stay on top of changes in the guidelines that won’t be reflected in a paper copy unless they download, and reprint them frequently.

Apps like the ACP Immunization Advisor are great examples of ways we can bring new efficiencies to medicine, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. One of the great advantages that Apple Watch will bring to the table is the ability for a clinician to access all of that great functionality in their smart phone, without ever having to remove it from their pocket. With the release yesterday of iOS 8.2, newer iPhones (Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus) will now have the capability to tether with Apple Watch. Developers can now build watch based interfaces to allow for easy access to information that’s literally at arm’s length. Bringing data to the physicians wrist will help to reduce the need to stare into a screen, and it helps free up both hands from having to physically hold a device.

Although the interface may be small, the Apple Watch is fully voice control enabled with Siri, meaning apps can be controlled hands free. From the looks of the interface, this watch seems to have reinvented usability for such a small screen (another forward-thinking move by Apple). When looked at as an extension of the iPhone, the Apple Watch has great potential to help clinicians have more face-to-face interaction with their patients while they are leveraging technology. It also opens the door for apps to enter other areas of medicine, like surgery, where a doctor is unable to physically interact with a smart phone due to the physical constraints of surgical gloves, and of course sanitary reasons. An Apple Watch would allow a surgeon to access powerful apps in their smartphone without ever having to touch it.

In 2013 AmericanEHR conducted a report titled “Mobile Usage in the Medical Space” which set out to better understand health practitioners usage of technology in the medical space. Some key findings included:

  • 77% of physicians who’s adopted an EHR use a smartphone
  • On average, physicians who have adopted an EHR conduct 11.2 activities per week on their smartphone in a clinical setting
  • 51% of doctors with smartphones use apps on a daily basis for clinical purposes
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of iPhone users are very likely to recommend their iPhone compared to just 26% of non-iPhone users


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Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver

Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nearly 11.7 million people have either signed up or re-enrolled for insurance coverage under the U.S. healthcare reform law, more than the 9.1 million predicted by the Obama administration,health officials said on Tuesday.

As of Feb. 22, about 8.8 million signed up in one of the 37 states that use online exchanges operated by the federal government and 2.85 million were in the 14 states, and Washington, D.C., that operate their own exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

The Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act, narrowly passed by Congress in 2010 over unified Republican opposition, aimed to help millions of Americans without health insurance obtain coverage. Conservatives criticize the law, commonly called Obamacare, as government overreach.

The online exchanges, or marketplaces, are geared toward those who do not receive insurance through their employer and provide tax subsidies on a sliding scale to make health coverage affordable for low-income people.

In the states that use the federal exchange, called healthcare.gov, 87 percent qualified for a tax credit averaging $263 per month, according to HHS. It said more than half of consumers in states using healthcare.gov bought a plan that cost $100 or less after tax credits.

Enrollment across the board has largely exceeded expectations, health officials said. The enrollment period for 2015 coverage opened on Nov. 15 and closed on Feb. 15.

President Barack Obama's healthcare policy has been challenged in the courts since the outset. In the latest case, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on March 4 and is expected to decide this year whether or not to throw out tax subsidies in states that do not operate their own marketplaces.

If the court rules against the Obama administration, up to 7.5 million people in at least 34 states would lose the tax subsidies, according to consulting firm Avalere Health.

More than 4.1 million people under 35 years old have purchased health insurance through state and federal exchanges, the HHS said Tuesday, about a third of enrollees.


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How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health

How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Looking at its hardware, the Apple Watch might not seem all that different from other wearables: a touchscreen display, a heart rate sensor, haptic feedback for taps and notifications, a mic for voice controls. Even so, it is poised to have a major impact on connected health management. As with the iPhone, it’s the software that will move the needle.

“What excites me the most about the Apple Watch is its ability to build positive habits,” says Jeremy Olson, founder of Tapity. Tapity is an award-winning app maker with plans for Watch apps. “The killer apps will be the ones that make positive interactions so convenient and front-of-mind that users can’t help but live healthier, more productive lives.”

After revealing its watch to the world in late September, Apple gave developers access to the Apple Watch API (WatchKit) in November. Developers currently have only limited access, but it’s becoming clear that won’t keep it from becoming a powerful, popular consumer tool, particularly with regards to health management. Services focused on tracking health will be able to use the Watch interface to display relevant, up-to-the-minute statistics in a way that’s more convenient than on a smartphone, or on a monitoring device’s screen. It will do this using the processing power of your iPhone, rather than a mobile chip onboard the watch itself, and updates will be sent to the watch wirelessly.

The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform to capture lung function and blood glucose.

DexCom Monitor will work this way. It will use the Apple Watch to show blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetics by presenting an easy-to-read graph on the smartwatch’s display. The glucose information itself is tracked from DexCom’s monitor, a tiny Class III medical device positioned under the skin. It measures glucose levels every five minutes, transmits the data to a phone app, and then the app sends the graph images to the smartwatch.

Respiratory health tracking will also get a boost from the Watch’s platform. Cohero Health is working on an Apple Watch app so asthmatics can better track their medical adherence and lung function. The company currently makes an inhaler strap and mobile spirometer, a Class II medical device that captures important respiratory performance metrics like functional expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) levels. These sync with its AsthmaHero mobile app, which tracks this data for the user and relays it to their healthcare provider through HealthKit.

For Cohero Health CEO Melissa Manice, the beauty of the Apple Watch is that it doesn’t make health tracking burdensome anymore. It de-stigmatizes chronic illness.

“The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform that can also capture lung function and blood glucose,” Manice says. “It levels the playing field.”

But managing a chronic disease often requires long-term changes to a person’s lifestyle. Malay Gandhi, managing director at Rock Health, says that giving people continuous feedback, prompting and reminding them at the right times, is key to inducing those sorts of lifestyle changes. Wrist-based notifications are perfect for this.

Take Propeller Health, another tool for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to monitoring inhaler usage with the company’s Bluetooth sensor, its location-sensing mobile app tracks weather, pollen count, and air quality (along with other personal trigger factors) to notify a patient when conditions arise that might initiate an asthma attack. The notifications are personalized and contextually relevant, and since they’re on the wrist, they could be even less obtrusive than they are on a smartphone. Current users of the app see a significant reduction in rescue inhaler use—and more asthma free days. Propeller Health plans to begin work on an Apple Watch app after it begins shipping.

The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their fitness activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

Gandhi, whose company Rock Health wants “to fund the first iconic company” to take advantage of the wrist interface for health monitoring, also sees the Apple Watch being useful in supporting good mental health.

“I use an anxiety coaching app, and it would be helpful to get prompts throughout the day rather than whenever I have an opportunity to open the app,” Gandhi says.

And of course, the Apple Watch has the potential to make fitness and activity tracking more accessible, especially to new users. Runtastic CEO and co-founder Florian Gschwandtner thinks the Watch will intrigue people new to fitness-tracking by letting them play with types of data they’ve never seen before. He first saw this when his company’s app debuted on the iPhone.

“People weren’t previously aware of the ability to track their runs and soon, they were nearly addicted to doing so,” Gschwandtner says. The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

The watch could even potentially help you make better decisions when you’re having a night on the town. Breathalyzer maker BACtrack is working on an Apple Watch app that will work with its Mobile and Vio smartphone breathalyzers. It adds a bit of convenience: users will be able to test their blood alcohol content by tapping the Apple Watch and then blowing into the BACtrack, leaving their phone in their pocket. Sure, it’s mostly a novelty. But sometimes, that little bit of convenience is all it takes for people to increase their engagement with a product.

Apple is reportedly assisting developers at its Cupertino headquarters so their WatchKit apps are primed for launch day. Take this as evidence that the Apple Watch apps we are learning about now are only a fraction of what we’ll see in the days and months following its April launch. But if what we see on launch day is anywhere near as impressive as the tidbits we’re learning about during this lead up, we can expect big steps toward better health management.


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Melanie Ferreira's curator insight, February 24, 2015 2:29 AM

Think this will be a change in the fitness history!

David Greene's curator insight, February 24, 2015 8:20 PM

Good for Apple - innovation leading the way to better health...

Little Moose's curator insight, February 25, 2015 11:57 AM

I can't wait to try one of these!